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18 August, 2011 - 08:10 By News Desk

Qatar mogul takes East of England radio technology

Fern’s Clive Cushion (third from right), with the FRX-1 radio repeater and Qatargas crew during field trials

Qatargas, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas producer, is using East of England radio technology to improve offshore communications.

Following successful field trails, Fern Communications’ FRX-1 radio repeater systems have been bought by Qatargas as part of its standard suite of radio communications equipment for use offshore. Further orders may follow.

Suffolk-based Fern provides two-way radio communications systems to the international upstream oil and gas industries. Its client reports outstanding performance of the technology in the field trials offshore Qatar.

Qatargas contacted Fern because radio communications signals were breaking down due to obstruction. This was making communications between the bridge and vessel crew haphazard at best.

Fern Communications’ offered to test the effectiveness of the FRX-1 onboard a tanker while normal loading operations were being carried out. Throughout the four-day field trial, the Qatargas crew experienced uninterrupted radio communications while loading operations took place.

“For the first time ever, we experienced uninterrupted radio communication, so we were extremely impressed. Before the trials, we were dubious, if only because we simply did not know that the technology existed that could really solve the problem,” said Rajkumar Koodali Tazathveetil of Qatargas.

“The FRX-1 proved time and again that the radio signal could be reliably maintained, which convinced us to invest in units for our crews to use offshore. With the FRX-1, we are confident that positioning of our condensate tankers will be more precise and efficient, in addition to providing the crew with greater overall communication and safety onboard.”

Qatargas is now in active discussions with Fern about adopting the system for use across all operations, both on and offshore. To build on its success in Qatar, Fern is in the process of appointing a distributor to serve the needs of operators and service companies throughout the country.

Founded in 1984, Qatargas is the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer in the world, with an annual LNG production capacity of 42 million tonnes per annum.

Established in 2002, Fern Communications was co-founded by MD Jennifer Cushion, an Australian electronics engineer, and technical director Clive Cushion, a British industrial product designer. The company is now one of the UK’s leading suppliers of radio communications systems to the international oil industry.

It exports systems worldwide to emergency services organisations in Taiwan and Norway, and to oil services companies in Norway, Kazakhstan, Iran, Sweden, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Angola, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Ukraine, Poland, Brunei and Hong Kong.

• PHOTOGRAPH: Fern’s Clive Cushion (third from right), with the FRX-1 radio repeater and Qatargas crew during field trials

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